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Another question re: Siitaa-Maata

From: Krishna Susarla (krishna_at_ticnet.com)
Date: Thu Nov 12 1998 - 17:39:27 PST

Dear devotees,

The recent discussion on the Raamaayana stirred up a memory of a story I
heard long ago. The story went like this: When Lord Vishnu incarnated as
Raama, Lakshmii went down to Earth as Vedavati to perform tapasya and
meditation on the Lord. While she was there, Raavana happened by and
attempted to disturb her meditation. For this, she cursed him (that She
would be the cause of his downfall) and then incarnated as Siitaa.
Apparently, She appeared as a baby in a lotus flower found by Raavana in
Lanka. Remembering the curse, Raavana gave the baby to Varuna, who then gave
her to Mother Earth, who presented her to Janaka when the latter was
performing his plough-sacrifice.

I was wondering, has anyone else heard this story, and is there a shaastric
basis for it? I'm pretty certain it is NOT in Vaalmiiki-Raamaayana, as I
have read through the Baala-khanda and seen no mention of this.

adiyen Krishna Susarla